PETALING JAYA: An Umno leader has claimed that the Federal Court’s decision to uphold Najib Razak’s conviction and sentence in the SRC International case is the result of political persecution.
Umno Supreme Council member Arman Azha Abu Hanifah alleged that the former prime minister was not given a fair trial to defend himself, noting that it was a high-profile case.
“We respect the decision but we have stated from the start that justice has to be served. The court should have considered all angles before making a decision on such a high-profile case.
“What has happened is political persecution,” he said, adding that Umno leaders now needed to double their efforts to prepare for the next general election (GE15).
However, Beruas Umno chief Azhar Ahmad said the court’s decision was proof that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob did not interfere in its affairs.
“It means that our prime minister upholds the rule of law. So, the opposition’s accusations that Umno (was trying to) interfere in the court’s decision was false and proven to be slanderous,” he said.
Azhar said the court’s decision would not affect Barisan Nasional’s preparations for GE15, adding that Umno’s struggles were the priority.
Selayang Umno chief Abdul Shukur Idrus sympathised with Najib and his family, but said the Pekan MP’s conviction would rally other party members to fight for the party’s cause.
“We must continue our agenda for the next general election,” he said. “It (Najib’s conviction) gives us the strength to fight for victory at GE15 so that our leaders will not be persecuted.”
Meanwhile, Umno vice-president Mahdzir Khalid said Najib’s service and contribution to Malaysia and his party were undeniable.
“His service and devotion to Umno and the country cannot be denied,” he said on Facebook, adding that “justice hurried is justice buried”.
Yesterday, the Federal Court affirmed Najib’s conviction and sentence in the SRC case, and the former prime minister was taken to Kajang Prison to serve his 12-year sentence after its decision.